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Make smart choices about your money, time and productivity

Oct 24, 2016

#48: Imagine that your goal is to build a flat stomach and stronger biceps. But deep down, subconsciously, you’re afraid you might fail.

So you procrastinate. “I’ll work out tomorrow,” you tell yourself. “Or next week. Or next year.” As a result, you don’t make progress.

But let’s flip the script. Instead of focusing on the result — your appearance — you focus on the smallest possible action.

You create a new goal: Everyday, you’ll do a single push-up. You’ve designed a goal that cannot fail. The moment you commit to this goal, you drop to the ground and do a push-up. Congratulations. You’ve succeeded today. You repeat this everyday for a week. You build a new habit and new sense of self-identity. You’re the type of person who does daily push-ups.

One day, while executing your single push-up, you figure, “Ah, what the heck,” and pump out a few more. One push-up grows into five, ten, fifteen, twenty. You focus on tiny actions, rather than their potential long-term payoff.

Eventually, you get results. In today's episode, Stephen Guise, author of Mini-Habits, describes how the "one push-up" mentality accelerated his progress faster than a "100-pushup" mentality ever could.

He explains why he decided to start focusing on actions, he shares the technique that he uses to conquer writer's block, and he talks about embracing "imperfectionism."